Oct 24, 2007

The Mummy, or Ramses the Damned by Anne Rice

The year is 1914. Lawrence Stratford, an eminent archaeologist, uncovers a very strange tomb. According to the writing inside it, the mummy that rests there belongs to Ramses II. However, the tomb itself and many of the artefacts inside it are from the time of Cleopatra – about a millennium after the time of Pharaoh Ramses II. As the archaeologist translates the papyrus found in the tomb, he discovers a fascinating story: the Pharaoh claims that he was immortal, and that for centuries he was the advisor of the Kings and Queens of Egypt. The last Queen he served – and fell in love with – was Cleopatra. Heartbroken by her death, this immortal being retreated into a tomb, where he slumbers until the sunlight awakens him once more.

And in Edwardian London, he does awaken, and becomes the companion of Julie Stratford, the archaeologist’s daughter. From then on, the reader is taken from London to Cairo, as a story of grief, regret and family secrets unfolds.

When I started reading this novel, I expected to get to a point in which Ramses would start telling his story, and a flashback would take us back to Ancient Egypt. I looked forward to the moment when Ancient Egypt would be brought to life brilliantly, just like Ancient Rome in Blood and Gold or Babylonia in Servant of the Bones. However, that moment never came. There are short flashbacks, but the action is all set in modern times.

My disappointment didn’t last long, though, because I was completely sucked in by the story that was being told. In The Mummy, we have an ancient being dealing with the modern world, and this of course raises all sorts of interesting questions.

I had almost forgotten how vibrant and passionate Anne Rice’s writing can be. This book, like many of her other books, is full of interesting characters with complex and ambivalent emotions, of beautiful, rich descriptions, of historical references and speculations.

I did not really find this novel scary, but then again, it always puzzled me that Anne Rice is classified as horror. I think of her more as a writer or dark fantasy, or even historical fantasy in some cases.

The Mummy deals with many of the same themes we find in The Vampire Chronicles – life and death, love and loss, grief and regret. It’s a very riveting story that reminded me of why it was that Anne Rice was once my favourite author. It also made me realize how much I miss her. I must revisit some of her books in the near future.

As you can tell from the picture, my black Poppet has arrived! I was very surprised when it did, because the mail has been sort of chaotic around here. I have yet to receive some course books I ordered over two weeks ago. But the Poppet didn't take very long at all. Now my Little Purple isn't lonely any more. Lisa Snellings-Clark also included other things in the package: a Play in the Dark bookmark, a button, a skeleton key chain and some Halloween candy. Isn't she the best?


  1. I probably shouldn't admit this, but I've never read Anne Rice. I have absolutely no idea why I've always assumed I just wouldn't like her books. Which is ridiculous, because I honestly have never known anything at all about them. Well, at least you've now opened my eyes...I'll definitely have to put her on my "someday" list!

  2. I haven't read this one, but now I know I should! I've been craving some Anne Rice lately...I can't believe I went through all of October without reading anything by her. I had planned on re-reading The Witching Hour but um...that's way too intimidating of a task for right now. I love the poppet pic! I got my new poppets yesterday packaged with all the same Halloween goodies :) She really is the best!

  3. You know.... as many of Anne Rice's books that I have read (and loved) I haven't read this one either!! She has such a beautiful way of telling a story. Looks like I really need to get on the ball and read this one!!

  4. The story sounds wonderful but...

    I am not an Ann Rice fan. I tried to read Interview. I tried three times to read it. I couldn't.

    Her writing style, the one where a sentence is a paragraph in length and a paragraph is an entire page in length bugs me. A lot.

    I really wanted to like Interview when it first came out.

    But, your interview makes this sound so much like something I'd like, I might give it a try. Maybe.


  5. Oh, I loved this when I read it - years ago, maybe in college? But I do seem to remember a somewhat inconclusive ending, along with (in my copy anyway) a promise for a sequel. That never came. Still waiting over here! And from what Rice is writing now, I think it's going to be a loooooong wait. Hmph.

    But still, it was a fun read!

  6. I loved the halloween candy too! (I got The Little Pink)

    This book sounds really good...it sounds like you've read a lot more of Anne Rice than me. What're you three or five top favourites?

  7. Gee, I stopped reading Anne Rice after Lestat went underground, literally. Then I don't remember finishing Servant of the Bones (or if I did I certainly could not remember the ending). Maybe I should read her again sometime as I never had the opportunity to read her Mayfair Witches series.

    Or at least revisit The Vampire Chronicles since I seem to be in a vampire funk lately.

  8. It has been a while since I read Anne Rice. The Mummy was the first Anne Rice I read where she had these explicit sex scenes. I was a little shocked (I was that young!)

    I still prefer the Vampire Chronicles - but she wrote great vampires.

    I heard her next book will be a continuation of her Jesus Chronicles. I'm not sure what to make of it. Anyone read that?

  9. It's been years since I've read an Anne Rice book but I do remember being such a fan, especially of the Vampire books, well until the last few in the series. Then she lost me.
    Anyway glad you enjoyed the story. And, your poppets are too cute.

  10. Debi: Well, she definitely isn't for everyone, but maybe you could give Interview with the Vampire a try someday. It's a bit of an angsty book, but also deliciously romantic, and a classic of vampire fiction. Perhaps for the next RIP?

    Chris: As much as I love The Witching Hour, I can see how it is intimidating. That book is huge! But I do want to re-read that whole series sometime next year. I've been missing her a lot lately. And yay for Lisa and for new Poppets!

    Stephanie: You do need to read it, it's a good one. I don't know why it took me so long either. I've been a fan of hers for 10 years, and it was only now that I picked it up.

    CJ: Quite a few people really dislike the way he writes. Personally I like it, but I can see why it wouldn't work for others.

    Darla: The ending did leave lots of room for a sequel, but unfortunately I don't think we will ever see it. Ah well, we can always imagine.

    Eva: A hard question :P Probably The Vampire Armand (because he's one of my all-time favourite characters), The Vampire Lestat (who can resist Lestat?) and....hm, either The Witching Hour or Merrick.

    Lightheaded: I think that the Mayfair Witches series is some of her best work. You really should give it a try.

    Dark Orpheus: My first Anne Rice was The Witching Hour. I was only 14, so I was also shocked with the sexually explicit scenes. I haven't read her latest books - she lost me with Blood Canticle.

    Iliana: The same happened with me - I didn't like the last books in the series. But the ones I like I REALLY really like.

  11. sounds great, I'll have to read this one, I'll pretty much be adding all Anne Rice's novels to my TBR pile :)

  12. Thanks! Of those, I've only read The Witching Hour, so now I have some more to look for. :)

  13. I loved reading The Mummy and hope to read it again soonish. I never got why she is always in the Horror section, I don't think she has any horror books... I got an orange poppet this morning with candy as well. I ordered a couple of others before it which haven't arrived yet so guess the post is still rubbish here.

  14. You're not alone, Debi. I hadn't read any Anne Rice for years, but when the film, The Mummy Returns, came out I was in a big mummy mood so I picked this book up and LOVED it! It sucked me right in and off I went. It is one I hope to get back to again. It didn't cause me to want to read any of the other Rice books (I prefer my vampire tales to come mostly from Stoker), but I highly recommend this book. Great review Nymeth.


Thank you so much for taking the time to comment - interaction is one of my favourite things about blogging and a huge part of what keeps me going.